Wonton Sweet Potato Ravioli with Calvados-Laced Creamy Sage-Toasted Pecan Sauce
Creating artisan ravioli dishes is not something reserved only for a culinary school-trained chef. With the help of versatile pre-made wonton wrappers, a handful of common ingredients and a pot roomy enough to boil several quarts of water, you can make luscious almost-homemade ravioli in as little as an hour. Many folks, accustomed to eating frozen ravioli, have eaten them in only one of two ways – either stuffed with cheese, or made with some kind of indiscernible meat mixture.
Sometimes ravioli dough can be heavy for its filling, often tasting chalky and appearing gummy after cooking. Ravioli sold fresh are better than frozen and come with imaginative fillings made with ingredients ranging from wild mushroom and spinach to lobster and shrimp. While fresh ravioli are very are tasty, many are pricey and, of course, no matter what kind of raviolis you select, be they fresh or frozen, they will still need to be sauced. By opting to make your own ravioli, however, you can achieve the whole package – taste, texture, looks and price, with the ingredients you choose and the homemade sauce you crave. When making homemade ravioli, always be sure not to overfill them and to crimp the edges well to prevent the filling from oozing out when the ravioli are boiled. Ravioli cook in just five minutes, or less, and you’ll be proud to show them off. Your ravioli will look good – and so will you.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Assembling Wonton Ravioli
1 (12-ounce) package wonton skins
1 medium sweet potato, baked and cooled
1 cup part-skim Ricotta cheese, drained through a fine mesh sieve
¼ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 large egg yolk, beaten
1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian parsley
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Dash ground black pepper
Remove cooked sweet potato from skin and mash. In a large mixing bowl, blend together the potato, cheeses, egg, parsley, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Lay a few wonton skins out on a lightly floured surface. (Be sure to keep the wontons you are not working with covered with a damp paper towel to keep them from drying out.) Top each wrapper with 1½ teaspoon of the potato-cheese mixture, mounded into the center. Top the wonton with another wonton. With your fingers, fit wonton snugly around the filling, crimping edges with a pastry crimper. Cut filled cut into rounds with a 2½-inch biscuit cutter or into squares with a fluted pastry wheel. Repeat until the rest of the wontons.
Makes about 24 ravioli.
Cooking Wonton Ravioli
Gently drop ravioli into a large pot of boiling, lightly salted water. Allow ravioli to cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until ravioli rises to the top. (Cook ravioli in batches. They should not be crowded into pot.) Carefully remove ravioli from pot with a slotted spoon to a serving dish, then top with sauce. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Calvados-Laced Creamy Sage-Toasted Pecan Sauce
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups warmed half and half
2 tablespoons Calvados* or brandy
Dash nutmeg, or more to taste
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1 cup toasted pecans, divided (recipe follows)
Handful fresh sage leaves, for sauce and garnish
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter and blend in flour, mixing until smooth. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in half and half. Return pan to heat, and cook until mixtures thickens, stirring constantly. Blend in Calvados, then lower heat to a simmer, adding several sage leaves (about 6) and 1/3 cup toasted pecans. Stir in nutmeg and season with salt and pepper, to taste, simmering several minutes more. Serve sauce over ravioli, garnishing plate with remaining pecans and fresh sage leaves, as desired. Makes about 2 cups sauce.
*Kitchen Ade Note: Calvados is an apple based brandy produced in Normandy, France.
Pan Toasted Pecans
Place pecans in a dry heavy skillet set over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring and shaking the pan frequently. Watch pecans carefully to keep them from burning. When the nuts are toasted, remove pan from heat and spread nuts onto a foil-lined baking sheet to cool. (Pecans will continue to brown after they are removed from the oven so be sure to remove from the baking sheet.